The Journey So Far                                                                                   

March 16, 2018 - Faith development, Lent, School life, Student discipleship, Youth Ministry

The Journey So Far                                                                                   

by YMO Gus Bourne

G’day guys, 18 and a bit years ago the big fella upstairs decided we needed a Gus walking around on this world. Back then I didn’t know why I was here, and now I’ve only sorta got an idea. I know I’ve got a long way to go but I’m gonna fill ya in on a few of the events that have shaped the bloke I am today.

‘I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGTHENS ME’ Philippians 4:13

This scripture enabled me to take on one of the biggest steps of my faith Journey. The First, ‘real one’. Baptised a Catholic. I guess my journey started the day that happened, but it wasn’t the day I really got to know who God was and take the ‘BIG’ step on my faith journey.

So let me tell ya how I got in the position to take the ‘BIG’ step. I grew up in a mixed denominational family. My Mother was Church of England, and my Dad was a Catholic…because of this church was never really something we did together. So it was a little hard to have relationship with God. When I was in Primary School I decided I wanted to be an altar server.

Which was great, but no one really wanted to take me to church, so I rode.

Now for a while it was awesome I would ride to church be the only altar server and have a blast. But as you can imagine certain things inhibit getting to church when you ride, and riding inhibits the will to go to church. So after all the fun of riding and being the only altar server, my commitment to the role stated to waver. This put my relationship with God on pause until I entered High School.

In High school more opportunities arose where I could connect with God. Retreats were a compulsory thing in all grades. It was at these retreats I began to see the impact that God could have on the lives of people, and I wanted some of that… ya know? You could say I had this awesome relationship with someone who genuinely thought I was pretty cool.

I began to find myself really engaged in retreats and camps. But as soon as the novelty of the retreat wore off, so did the way I spoke to people. I became a sheep following the crowd, and my motivation was the will to fit in. I didn’t enjoy hiding the way I felt about these things. I was searching for a place I could talk openly about the way I felt about God. And so at the end of year eight we had the opportunity to apply for CSYMA, and by golly I was all over it like a bad smell.

Lucky for me I was approved to be in the class.

At the time I don’t think anybody really knew what the next 12 months had in store for us. I wish they would have told us to buckle up at the start ’cause it was a wild ride. In the first couple of weeks I began to question if I had made the right choice. The class was composed of people I thought looked down on me, people I looked down upon, and people that I genuinely didn’t really know or care for. I was quite hesitant, until the first CSYMA event.

SHINE!!!

Shine had been pumped up to be this awesome thing where everyone there was just as curious as me. So I embarked on this two-day journey to Coffs Harbour to get rowdy in the name of Jesus with people like me. I arrived full of nerves and little expectation. It wasn’t until the first rally that I started to realise these people weren’t like me at all.

I mean seriously who finds it ok to jump up and down with your hands in the air, eyes shut screaming for Jesus? I thought that was wack. But then I started to understand why it happened, Jesus was present, it wasn’t that they were weird it was because the Holy Spirit was filling them with joy… And I wanted a slice of that cake!

But as much as I wanted to, the best I could do was stand at the back tapping my foot.

So even though I couldn’t muster up the courage to get pumped up in the Jesus mosh, there were plenty of other opportunities to develop my relationship with God. I left Shine feeling confident with my relationship but still searching for a bit more. Later in the same year was an opportunity to go to Ignite.

Keen to get to know more I chucked my name down and got on a bus to Brissy. This was very similar to Shine, but I wasn’t held back by the worry of what others thought. Oh and I was the only boy in my year.

Ignite is similar to Shine but the night sessions go a little bit deeper. I had an opportunity to go to a little thing called Prayer Teams; this is where two people pray for you. My first time, I didn’t know what to pray for, but just as I reached the pair it hit me. All I wanted was the freedom to be like the ‘weirdos’ in the front row with their hands in the air. So I asked for it. (Not using those words but very similar).

It started off like any other prayer with the sign of the cross, but it soon got very hectic. They were praying in a language called Tongues. Now if you’ve never experienced this before it is simply a gift of the Holy Spirit allowing free communication with God, which is limited by English. It was an experience I’ll never forget, but funnily enough can hardly remember because at some time during the prayer I fell over. Not knowing how or why I freaked out, I opened my eyes and was looking at the ceiling. This was a really big part of my faith journey and I wouldn’t believe many things on my journey if it weren’t for this pivotal moment.

Not only did this experience enhance my relationship with God it also provided me with an understanding of why certain things happen to certain people during prayer and it also created a yearning for prayer within my own heart. Now don’t get me wrong it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows since this experience but it is definitely something that keeps me positive and also drills into me the importance of conversation with God.

I encourage you all to take a step towards God, doesn’t matter how big a step God will always take a giant leap towards you. If there is one thing I hope you will take on your journey, it’s prayer.

‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.’ Proverbs 3:6